Is prenatal sex selection associated with lower female child mortality?
Population Studies, 73:1, 57–78 (2019)
Keywords: Albania, Armenia, Asia, Azerbaijan, child mortality, sex ratio
I examine whether prenatal sex selection has substituted postnatal excess female mortality by analysing the dynamics of child sex ratios between 1980 and 2015 using country-level life table data. I decompose changes in child sex ratios into a ‘fertility’ component attributable to prenatal sex selection and a ‘mortality’ component attributable to sex differentials in postnatal survival. Although reductions in numbers of excess female deaths have accompanied increases in missing female births in all countries experiencing the emergence of prenatal sex selection, relative excess female mortality has persisted in some countries but not others. In South Korea, Armenia, and Azerbaijan, mortality reductions favouring girls accompanied increases in prenatal sex selection. In India, excess female mortality was much higher and largely stable as prenatal sex selection emerged, but slight reductions were seen in the 2000s. In China, although absolute measures showed reductions, relative excess female mortality persisted as prenatal sex selection increased.